Legal cannabis to net province $1.8 million in 1st year

N.L. finance minister said Monday the feds will provide money toward marijuana training and justice system

The costs of implementing marijuana legalization are expected to eat up most of the first-year revenue from its sale, the minister of finance said Monday.

Based on numbers provided by the Newfoundland and Labrador Liquor Corporation, which will handle legal marijuana sales, the province should bring in cannabis revenue of $5.8 million this year, finance minister Tom Osborne said during Monday’s question period in the House of Assembly.

Costs associated with implementing legal pot are expected to be about $4 million, Osborne said, providing the province with net revenue of $1.8 million in the first year of legalization.

The information came in response to a question from PC leader Paul Davis, who also requested a breakdown of funding provided by the federal government to get ready for pot legalization, expected to come into effect this summer.

Davis pointed out that Nova Scotia’s budget is forecasting $20 million in annual revenue related to marijuana sales, based on figures within its provincial budget.

“Why does the revenue in our province only budget 2.2 million for marijuana tax revenue versus 20 million for Nova Scotia?,” he asked.

Osborne again pointed to the Newfoundland and Labrador Liquor Corporation, saying it is the source of the numbers used by the government.

Federal money expected for training, not retail

The Newfoundland and Labrador government isn’t expecting funding from the federal government for marijuana retail and distribution, Osborne said.

“I know that the federal government are giving $1.9 million in training, and I think a half a million dollars for ticketing, but nothing directly toward the retail and distribution of cannabis,” he said.

The federal government is expected to provide the $500,000, via the justice department, to cover costs related to legalization, like fines and administration, public prosecution and the operation of provincial courts.

Davis asked for details on how government expected to spend that $1.9 million. Osborne said he would provide that as soon as possible.

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